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Press Release

Health and Social Care staff work tirelessly over busy Christmas period


The Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency has commended the commitment and professionalism of staff across the health and social care system who have worked tirelessly throughout the holiday period to ensure that patients receive the care they need as quickly and safely as possible.

There is currently a very high level of demand on urgent care services due to winter illnesses, including the norovirus, and the Board and PHA are working with Trusts, Primary Care colleagues and other key partners to address pressures in a number of Emergency Departments (EDs) and enhance the flow of patients throughout hospitals into the community.

In the six day period from 24th December to 29th December, there was an increase of 9% in the number of people attending the main EDs across Northern Ireland compared to the same period last year.

“A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board said: “Plans have been put in place across the Health and Social Care system to manage increased demand at this time of year, however, given the extent of the increase in demand, some patients have had to wait more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital. We fully understand the distress and inconvenience this causes to patients and their families and apologise to them for it.

“We can assure the public that anyone who needs to use an Emergency Department for urgent or life threatening conditions will continue to receive access to safe, high quality services from our highly skilled and committed staff. If your condition is not urgent such as minor cuts, sprains, broken bones, colds, aches and pains, minor burns or scalds, please use alternative services, for example your local pharmacy, minor injuries unit, GP or GP out of hours service.”

Overview of Provisional Emergency Department Figures